With the exception of a gentle jaunt with the Nor Man, the most notable moment of which was the nimble avoidance of explosive bovine diarrhea, Sunday was my first proper ride since the Alps. I was not in ideal physical condition, having, on the previous afternoon, gone straight from the performance of a bizillion sqats to an accidental triple pint combo. And so it was that I hit the Sabbath hills in the company of Mr. M and my best Polish friend Marcin. My quads were achy and my head was fuzzy. It was glorious. Plenty of the usual climbing and a little never done before diversion to the allegedly highest paved point in the country. This involved some hairy descending on a steep, gravelly winding track. I skidded a little at one point but did not crash. Coming off Sally Gap I followed Mr M's line and for the first time ever was not downhill dropped by him. This felt very good. Later, on the final serious descent of the day, I skidded again, again on gravel and this time a little more violently. I regained control. With my heart pounding and a little tremor in my braking hands I took the rest of the decent at a more leisurely pace. All these close calls. But then there's always at least one a ride.
We split up just after Rathfarnham, Marcin heading back to his beautiful baby girl, Mr M to whatever it is that the childless do on a Sunday. I checked my clock and saw that I had plenty of time to shower, change pedals and have a little rewarmup before starting my spin at 12. It felt good to have done three hours and to still feel strong and ready for the rest of the day. I wished that i had made more use of the weather since I'd been back, made more of an effort to get out. I looked forward to the remaining warmish weeks and putting in some serious mileage. Glowing with all those good endorphins, I gave a little kick on the brief incline up to Orwell Road. I checked right as I approached the left hand turn. Clear, I would have called had I been with the boys. And then my hands came off the bars.
I don't know why. It happened fast. They were on the hoods. Then they weren't. I can only assume it was a bump or a pothole. But off they were. And as I was about to make a turn, albeit at a measly 30kmh, I really needed them on. Yeah, it happened fast. But everything else happened slow. Slowly, my latest bike and I sped toward the very wrong side of the road. Slowly, I tried to regain balance, get my hands on the bars, make the turn. Slowly, the red van in the corner of my eye hurtled towards me.
Oh so slowly. Slow enough to know I wasn't going to connect head on. Slow enough to know that I was certainly going to connect. I reached the bars to turn but not the brakes to slow. It was with pace and power that I shoulder-charged the van, pace and power enough to do insurance claim worthy damage to its side panel. With my shoulder. I bounced off. The bike flew away unscathed. I dropped to the tarmac and lay crumpled in the bright Sunday morning sun.